NEW YORK – Two correctional officers responsible for guarding Jeffrey Epstein on the night he died in his New York jail cell are reportedly being taken into custody on federal charges related to their alleged failure to check on him.
Citing a person with knowledge of the matter, The New York Times said Tuesday the officers were expected to be charged later in the morning. The two Federal Bureau of Prisons employees, who were not named, are expected to appear in the federal court in Manhattan, the newspaper said.
A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in Manhattan had no immediate comment.
Epstein, 66, a well-connected money manager, was found unresponsive in his cell on Aug. 10 at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. He was awaiting trial on charges of sex-trafficking girls as young as 14 years old.
New York City Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson on Aug. 16 ruled Epstein’s death a suicide by hanging. But recent weeks have seen a resurgence of skepticism about the official determination, with “Epstein’s didn’t kill himself” becoming an internet meme.
Skeptics of the official narrative have pointed to the wealthy financier’s former powerful friends and a series of breaches of protocol by jail staff ahead of his death.
In August, Reuters reported that the FBI was examining two cameras that malfunctioned outside the jail cell where Jeffrey Epstein died while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Epstein had been taken off suicide watch just days after apparently trying to kill himself. He was then was left alone in a cell without close supervision.
According to CBS News, shrieking was heard from Epstein’s cell the day he died.
In addition to leaving Epstein without a cellmate, two guards who were supposed to be watching Epstein when he died falsified records to indicate that they had checked on Epstein, the Times reported. In reality, the guards failed in their duty to look in on Epstein and his fellow inmates every 30 minutes, and he was left unattended for several hours before he was found dead.
One of the two guards on duty was a substitute who did not typically work as a correctional officer, the Times further reported.
Attorney General William Barr in August on Aug. 19 announced he was replacing acting Bureau of Prisons Director Hugh Hurwitz. He had previously said he was “angry” and “appalled” with Metropolitan Correctional Center officials over Epstein’s death.
(Reuters contributed to this report.)